How Do The Physical And Social Settings In The Story "Death By Landscape" By Margaret Atwood Contribute To The Story's Overall Meaning?

754 words - 4 pages

Traumatic events can shape an entire lifetime. In Margaret Atwood’s “Death by Landscape” the protagonist, Lois is haunted after the mysterious disappearance of her close childhood friend, Lucy, who suddenly vanishes off a cliff during their camping excursion in the vast wilderness of northern Ontario. Her disappearance leaves Lois traumatized, and obsessed for decades. The physical and social settings of Lois’ earlier years in the story surround Camp Manitou. This is where Lois meets and forms an inseparable bond with Lucy, and where Lucy subsequently disappears, leaving Lois in a state of shock. Both the physical and social settings mirror the critical events, and underscore the enormous ...view middle of the document...

Each girl would have “a red line drawn across her cheeks by Cappie” (Atwood, 29). The next morning Lois, Lucy and their camp team venture on a canoe trip. Two days later, Lucy, Lois’ best friend inexplicably disappears near the edge of a cliff; leaving Lois traumatized. “By now she feels numb; she feels as if she has drowned. She can’t stay here. It has been too much of a shock” (Atwood, 33). The depth of their friendship has precipitated a shocking reaction from Lois.

Decades later, “Lois has moved to a condominium apartment in one of the new waterfront developments” (Atwood, 24) the effect of Lucy’s disappearance forces Lois into seclusion. Although the apartment setting contrasts sharply with Lois’ memories of Lucy and Camp Manitou, Lois obsessively tries to solve the mystery of Lucy's disappearance, in the world that she builds around her – A small apartment with neatly arranged landscape paintings on her wall. Her only companion is her lost friend Lucy, whom she sees in every one of her paintings. “Every one of them is a picture of Lucy” (Atwood, 36). She is alone, and decades later she continues to be haunted by the loss of Lucy.

Both the physical and social settings contribute significantly...

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